Expressway accidents on the rise?
The number of accidents on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway may be fewer than they were on the old Mumbai-Pune road (400 a year on an average on the old road as against 200-300 a year on the new road in 2001) though ofcourse even these were far too many accidents. But accidents on the expressway had reduced in later years…but I feel they are rising again.
Not only had I read about the scores of accidents way back in 2002, I used to routinely see at least a dozen or so overturned or mangled vehicles while traveling at any given time during the three hour drive. But after an awareness campaign about tyre bursts and traffic rules, plus the new signs that were put up, along with the crackdown on speeding, we started to see fewer mangled trucks and overturned cars. In fact there were times when we didn’t see a single accident!
Thats seems to have changed. On our recent trip we saw about more than a dozen accidents, 3-4 on our trip to Pune and about 7-8 on our way back. I managed to take pictures of just three.
All the accidents were not of large vehicles…we saw at least three small cars in a pitiable state. And one car had fallen into a ditch and was half immersed in water! Usually these vehicles are removed fairly quickly…and that was probably why we saw different vehicles on both our trips which took place within a span of 24 hours. Sure, these accidents happened in the rains, but last year we hardly saw any accidents although we traveled frequently during the monsoons. Surely motorists and truck drivers should be more careful while driving during the monsoons?
The cause of these accidents seems to be speeding. We saw it for ourselves. Cars zipping by from all directions. Trucks using the right lane. Even safe drivers can get into trouble if two vehicles overtake from both sides and no one follows the 80 km speed limit.
Whats really pathetic is that there is absolutely no sign of any traffic police! Is it any wonder then that in just one week (13th – 19th May) as many as five people were killed and 34 injured in three accidents on the expressway? These are just fatalities and injuries, the actual number of accidents are at least ten to times more. And just last week there was an accident in which 3-4 people were killed on the spot. And this is happening on a 6-lane expressway! Vehicles are colliding with lamp posts, running into ditches, into dividers or simply overturning! Dangerous for all motorists.
And then I saw this news report about the non-functioning of speed measuring guns. Apparently the guns were imported at the cost of Rs 4 lakhs but the importer is refusing to repair them as the government has not cleared his bills. What a waste! And naturally collection of fines has dropped drastically from 7100 violaters in 2003-2004 to just 1500 in 2005-2006!! And I am sure that this year (2006-2007) hardly anyone was fined at all! In any cases last year I have not seen one traffic cop out there for the past year even though we regularly use the expressway.
Also some photo posts: Some photographs of the Mumbai- Pune Expressway
Sudden showers on the Mumbai-Pune-Expressway – a slide-show
Beautiful scenes from the Mumbai Pune Expressway
More posts on Photography